Schools closed, activities canceled due to flu outbreak

Several children have been getting sick with the flu recently, causing some schools to be closed and activities to be canceled. 

Students at Ashe County schools have been hit hard with the virus, prompting the district to close all schools for Friday, Feb. 8. 

A parent told FOX 46 Charlotte over one fourth of Ashe County Middle School was out sick Wednesday, and that number is growing across the district.

Teachers in the county are taking extra precautions, sanitizing computers, desks, doorknobs, and toys. Custodians are focusing on disinfecting all areas, especially bathrooms and the cafeteria, according to Ashe County Schools, and buses will be supplied with Clorox wipes.

A dance studio in Matthews has also had to cancel classes for the rest of the week due to the outbreak.

“We have had numerous students that have fallen ill this week,” said Allyson Elliott, co-owner of We’re Dancin’. 

Elliott tells FOX 46 several of her 40 student competitive dance class-- including her daughter-- is sick with the flu. Because of that she had to cancel classes the past two days.

“I can think of one other season that we have done that and it's been in the last 5 years that we have done this before and it's just been a precautionary type of thing,” Elliott said. “We went in this morning and we were told that they used twice as many flu test to this point this year than they had last year and it's really rampant.” 

Aside from canceling class, Elliott has been doing her part at the studio to rid it of germs. 

“The protocol is really washing down the ballet bars that all the kids are touching, using lots of Lysol, extra hand sanitizer around the facility-- in the bathrooms making sure there is extra Clorox.” 

Although Elliott’s dancers are missing important practices with a competition next month she says nothing is more important than their well-being. 

“It's just about putting their health first and what's best for the kids as individuals and that's how we're balancing it.” 

Their next class is on Monday. Elliott says of course they'll play it by ear.

Several area hospitals have also put restrictions on youth visitations. Visitors age 12 and under are asked to stay out of all acute care facilities due to the widespread outbreak of the flu virus throughout the community.